Barbara Corcoran on picking the best retirement location

April 15, 2011 at 5:22 PM ET

Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran, TODAY real estate contributor and "Shark Tank" entrepreneur, joined Friday morning for a live Web chat to answer viewer's home-buying and home-selling questions.

Here are two of her answers to questions from the live chat. See below for the full Q&A. 


Where can my husband and I retire to? We are over 50 and want to relocate to a less expensive lifestyle than New England.

Barbara's answer:

Wow! That's a wide open question. You have so many areas of the country that have temperate, warm climates that are priced right for retirees and also offer wonderful amenities that are hard to find in New England. You could basically throw a dart at a map at the U.S. and be fairly confident it will land in a warmer place in New England! 

Whatever you do, make sure your research online. After you choose a half-dozen places that appeal to you, plan at least two long weekend vacations in each place so you can really get the taste of what it's like. You should plan the vacations at different times of years as many retirees make the mistake of checking out Sarasota, Fla., in winter and are SHOCKED to find what is there in the summer. It may be a little too hot for your taste in the summer months.

Promise yourself that you will NOT look at houses for sale when you go there on vacation -- which guarantees you will give your choice enough thought before jumping off the diving board. The typical retiree visits the new location and looks at houses on the second day. It opens you up to too much temptation, too many day dreams and too many mistaken choices.

Once you've completed your vacation tours, decide which locations you'd like to go back for another look see. And then -- and only then -- start looking at houses.

Question from Brian Gogerty: 

My mom was a heavy smoker and she wants to sell her property but the walls are smoke damaged. What do you suggest? 

Barbara's answer:

Hi Brian! First, move your mom out to a local Day's Inn for a weekend so you can fumigate. Try to do it on a weekend that has a good weather forecast with high winds -- and open all of the windows. 

Before you start, make a big sign for yourself and put it on the main living room wall. It should say, "I really do love my mother."

Call a local exterminator who could be able to treat the odor problem throughout the whole home. Once you've torn up the carpeting and rugs, taken down the drapes and dry-cleaned anything that holds odors. It's a big job.

By the way, make sure the painting company you hire scrubs the walls first before putting on a new coat of paint as that odor will leak right through the top coat.

If you've got high energy and really want to get even with your mom, you could send her to a rehab place for smoke addicts instead of the Day's Inn -- and then threaten her with a return visit for the rest of her life once all of the work is done if she doesn't stop smoking! :-)

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